In your last series, you are reinterpreting prehistorical Venuses sculptures, can you tell us more about this idea ?
I discovered them in college in my art history class. . I loved the voluptuous form and the idea that these women were some of the first artwork ever created.
When I finally left my husband and life, everything I had buried exploded out of me - I got a lot of professional help and help from friends and really discovered the power of female and got entranced with it, finally truly embraced it in myself. The Venus figures were the perfect representation of that - these mysterious and quiet beings that have endured since the beginning of humanity. They are often coined as ‘fertility goddesses’ but that is just one of MANY theories. We will never really know why they exist, but it shows that women were important enough to represent in three dimensional forms at a time when we were barely even standing yet. And glass just encapsulated the contradictory sentiments that make women so powerful. The beauty and fragility, but also the solid strength and power of such an incredible material.
Walk us through your process; from start to finish.
| First is concept : I work in series and each series has its own conceptual theme. Each piece a different iteration of that theme, or a slightly different version. So for every piece I begin with what I want it to say.
After I figure out what I want to say, I figure out imagery. Usually, since I’m working in themes, I’ll use variations of the same imagery - maybe a few symbols per theme. Then I might play with colour, with scale, with form to see how each change feels and how it affects the message.
Once that is all drawn out in my sketchbook, I start with the actual materials.
Sometimes - most of the time - the materials lead you in different directions. Or lead to complications that might change your original imagery. Or spark other ideas so I will work more instinctively. Every piece is different! And every piece has mistakes and learning curves. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but that’s what makes creating so special.
Best advice you ever got or try to follow.
Don’t ever get comfortable in a paycheque. I don’t know if this is good advice for everyone but it really dramatically changed my life. I think to be an artist you have to try and not get too comfortable in anything - growing is uncomfortable and to be an artist you need to be constantly growing.
Working on glass is unusual in fine art, what do you love most about your medium?
It’s so difficult to use and extremely hot and also cold and sharp. It’s insanely frustrating as it seems to have a mind of its own but really high highs when things actually work out. But mostly, it’s such a fascinating material conceptually. Glass is representative of so many things and is a very unique material. It can be soft, sharp, hard, hot, cold, strong and fragile. It’s so many contradictory things and it’s these ‘flaws’ or inconsistencies in its molecular makeup that make it that way. That is so human. Each one of us is a completely unique bundle of contradictions.
A wink in his studio
Describe your style in three words.
Raw, Beautiful, Unsettling
Venus of Avdeevo / Venus of Dolni Vestonice
As an artist, do you feel that your career has been impacted in any way by the fact that you are a woman?
Claire Anderson in full swing